An extension of postembryonic growth, in an absolute sense, is the regulation of aging and longevity. The onset of aging has been linked to life history strategies, and integrated with developmental signals. But the control vs correlation of this process remains hotly debated. We use the zebrafish as an early vertebrate model for aging. Zebrafish exhibit progressive decline of function and physiology that is similar to other vertebrates. The accessibility of zebrafish to genetic manipulation and analysis of tissue/cellular function in real time, makes the zebrafish an important model to address the regulation of aging and longevity. Importantly, more than verifying known actors in driving aging phenotypes, the zebrafish provides a means to do exploratory work with forward genetics to identify novel regulators of aging.

We also leverage evolutionary variation in lifespan as a nature experiment in which to uncover regulation of aging and longevity. Understanding how evolution has come up with unique solutions for lifespan regulation with negligible aging provides important windows into how we might mitigate the effects of aging-related diseases. Our current work focuses on gene discovery using this model.

Related Projects

Key Publications

  • Treaster S., Deelen J., Daane J., Murabito J., Karasik K., Harris MP. (2023) Convergent genomics of longevity in rockfishes highlights the genetics of human life span variation. Science Advances 2023 Jan 11;9(2):eadd2743[link]
  • Li C, Barton C, Henke K, Daane J, Caetano-Lopes J, Tanguay R, and Harris MP. (2020). Celsr1a is essential for tissue homeostasis and onset of aging phenotypes in the zebrafish. eLife Jan 27;9. pii: e50523. PMID:31985398
  • Treaster S, Daane JM, Harris MP (2021) TRACCER: Empowering Relative Evolutionary Rate Comparisons with Topological Weighting to Reveal Convergent Mechanisms in Longevity and Marine Adaptations. Molecular Biology and Evolution PMID: 34324001 DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msab226
  • Treaster S, Karasik D, Harris MP (2021) Footprints in the sand: deep taxonomic comparisons in vertebrate genomics to unveil the genetic programs of human longevity. Front. Genetics. Jun 7;12:678073. PMID: 34163529

Updated: 2022